5 Steps to Boost Students’ Immunity

meals to support student immune systems

(Family Features) Heading to the classroom means opening doors to opportunities for educational and social growth, but to keep students at school day after day, it’s important to keep health top of mind. When close proximity to other children exposes them to illnesses like common colds, a strong immunity system can be the difference between perfect attendance and a few days of absences.

To help boost your children’s immunity, consider these tips from the experts at Healthy Family Project.

Eat Healthy Foods
Focusing on foods that are rich in antioxidants and vitamins can help boost immunity by protecting the body from free radicals that cause inflammation and damage cells. For example, vitamin C boosts the function of immune cells and foods high in fiber help keep the digestive system healthy.

Broccoli provides a good source of vitamin C, but if your kids aren’t big fans of the green veggie, turn to these Broccoli Tater Tots for an easy way to sneak some greens onto the family table. Due to their high vitamin C content, mandarins are another perfect addition to family diets. Their small size makes them easy to pack in lunches, toss in a bag or enjoy in a sweet treat like Frozen Creamsicle Yogurt Bites.

Get Plenty of Sleep
The Sleep Foundation recommends 9-11 hours of sleep each night for kids ages 6-13. Proper sleep helps regulate the body’s biological rhythms, helping people stay healthy.  

Exercise Regularly
Whether your children participate in sports or just enjoy playtime, encourage exercise to help boost the immune response, particularly during colder months when they may spend more time indoors.

Reduce Stress
Adults aren’t the only ones who experience stress. Talk to your children about anxiety, stress and mental health, as stress can leave them feeling run down while weakening the immune system, leading to less energy for fighting illnesses.

Drink Water
Hydration plays a major role in keeping immune systems functioning properly by aiding the production of white blood cells, which are important for fighting off infection.

Find more immunity-boosting recipes at HealthyFamilyProject.com.

An Immunity Treat: Frozen Creamsicle Yogurt Bites

Recipe courtesy of Healthy Family Project
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

  • 1 mandarin
  • vanilla Greek yogurt
  • sprinkles
  1. Place one piece of parchment paper on baking sheet that fits in freezer.
  2. Peel mandarin and separate into individual slices. Place one big scoop yogurt in small bowl.
  3. Dip each mandarin slice in yogurt, covering about half of each slice. Place individual mandarin slices on parchment paper. Add sprinkles.
  4. Freeze at least 1 hour or overnight if adding to lunchboxes.

Broccoli Tater Tots

Recipe courtesy of Healthy Family Project
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • cold water
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. In large stockpot, cover potatoes with cold water. Cover and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce to low and simmer 3 minutes. Add broccoli; don’t stir. Cover and cook 4-5 minutes, or until tender. Drain.
  3. In large bowl, mix egg, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and garlic powder until just combined.
  4. In food processor, pulse potatoes and broccoli 8-10 times until finely grated. Add to breadcrumb mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Use tablespoon to scoop potato mixture into 40 mounds. Shape each into oval and place on parchment-lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake 10 minutes; flip and bake 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

SOURCE: Healthy Family Project

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